Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South / Edition 1

Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South / Edition 1

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by Nicolas W. Proctor
     
 

The hunt, like the church, courthouse, and family, played an integral role in southern society and culture during the antebellum era. Regardless of color or class, southern men hunted. Although hunters always recognized the tangible gains of their mission—meat, hides, furs—they also used the hunt to communicate ideas of gender, race, class, masculinity,

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Overview

The hunt, like the church, courthouse, and family, played an integral role in southern society and culture during the antebellum era. Regardless of color or class, southern men hunted. Although hunters always recognized the tangible gains of their mission—meat, hides, furs—they also used the hunt to communicate ideas of gender, race, class, masculinity, and community. Hunting was very much a social activity, and for many white hunters it became a drama in which they could display their capacity for mastery over women, blacks, the natural world, and their own passions.

Nicolas Proctor argues in Bathed in Blood that because slaves frequently accompanied white hunters into the field, whites often believed that hunting was a particularly effective venue for the demonstration of white supremacy. Slaves interpreted such interactions quite differently: they remained focused on the products of the hunt and considered the labor performed at the behest of their owners as an opportunity to improve their own condition. Whether acquired as a reward from a white hunter or as a result of their own independent—often illicit—efforts, game provided them with an important supplementary food source, an item for trade, and a measure of autonomy. By sharing their valuable resources with other slaves, slave hunters also strengthened the bonds within their own community. In a society predicated upon the constant degradation of African Americans, such simple acts of generosity became symbolic of resistance and had a cohesive effect on slave families.

Proctor forges a new understanding of the significance of hunting in the antebellum South through his analyses of a wealth of magazine articles and private papers, diaries, and correspondence.

University of Virginia Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813920917
Publisher:
University of Virginia Press
Publication date:
03/28/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Nicolas W. Proctor is Assistant Professor of History at Simpson College.

University of Virginia Press

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1Game, Landscape, and the Law5
2Hunters at Home and in the Field37
3Hunting and the Masculine Ideal61
4Finding Peers: The Criteria of Exclusion76
5The Community of the Hunt99
6Slavery, Paternalism, and the Hunt119
7Slave Perceptions of the Hunt142
Epilogue169
Notes175
Selected Bibliography197
Index217

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